Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Sneaky Eater

I baked some donuts a couple nights ago because I wanted to test a new pan and a recipe. The donuts were baked, not fried. I feel like I need to state that immediately. I knew that I couldn't have these little guys around the house because there is no one else there to eat them. Well, I'm sure the dogs would love them but I don't typically give them baked goods. They usually have to steal them. Anyway.... I decided I'd bake the donuts and take them to work. Perfect! That way I could have a couple (sampled one, and figured I'd have one at work the next day) and not be tempted by them staring at me all the time. A bunch of donuts and one girl? They'd gang up on me for sure.

Today I ate a donut, when I was in the office alone.  Not a problem. One donut is allowed sometimes (although I had one yesterday too). I tracked it in my nutritional data and that's just fine.  I felt that I had to eat that donut when no one was around. I guess I thought that the one I had yesterday was enough and I shouldn't have another today.  Later on, again, when it was quiet, I decided I'd eat another one. Keep in mind they're smaller than the average bakery/gas station/whatever donut, and not fried, and homemade, making me the master of the ingredients. Two donuts was certainly not going to kill me. After tracking the day's progress, I needed those calories to get into my calorie range anyway. In the end, donut number two worked out. Although it isn't the healthiest, I was just fine as far as my daily ranges for values.

The problem with these donuts is that I felt like I had to sneak it. I grabbed on in the dark, wrapped it in a napkin, and snuck back into my office (smaller office within a larger office/suite area). I felt like I needed to hide the evidence so I ate it pretty quickly. I didn't really even get to enjoy the flavors of that donut and the glaze on it. I ate something I knew would taste good and really wanted, yet didn't get to enjoy it because I was afraid someone would "catch" me eating it. It's not the donut that I'm concerned about. It's the way I went about eating it.

That? Is not good. Not good at all.

One thing that has always stuck with me is that I've often eaten in secret.  I have a problem with people watching me eat. If I feel like too may people are around and can see me, I start to feel anxious. I do okay eating in restaurants but prefer to be off to the side, not out in the middle for all to see. I can't stand it when people go by and look at what I'm eating. I'm sure they probably just want to scope out other offerings, but it makes me feel as though they're judging me.

I also have a history of eating in secret at times.  This is typical of many eating disorders.... It's not "normal." I'm a binge eater, but I have not had a true binge in quite a while.  I have times now that I consider binges but they are no where near as bad as what they once were. It's hard to binge on bad foods when you don't keep them in the house.  If I am somewhere and bad foods are around, I have a hard time not caving in. What I would consider a binge now might be a small bowl of ice cream, and after that some chips or something. ). That's not a binge, not a true one anyway. But for me it's become like a mini-binge, I guess.

Although I'm better able to control binges and I do other things when I'm upset, there are still some characteristics of disordered eating that I notice. I'll hide in a dark corner so that if someone awakens I can try to hide it quickly (if I'm at a home that's not my own).  I experience the same feelings afterward, usually guilt, I do it in secret, and I feel out of control (a little; much less that in the past) when it happens. Sometimes it's not even about the comfort of it. Sometimes it's that the foods is there and I'm drawn to it. This is why I do my best to avoid junk food. However, avoiding it doesn't mean that I've totally changed my behaviors. I had been doing good with that for a while. I could talk myself out of almost any possible binge. I'm not sure why, but the last couple months, I've noticed those times increase.  It's a good thing I'm home most of the time.

Secrecy when it comes to eating is something I can remember doing for quite a while, as is night eating. I guess that makes sense because at night there's no one around to see. When I was younger, it was easier to scarf down a bunch of food when no one would be awake.  I have noticed that the night eating seems to change (increase) with hormonal changes in my body. At times when I'm up, I want to eat. It's an almost anxious feeling that need to "right now." Other nights I can talk myself out of it and go back to bed without difficulty. It's much less dangerous now that I don't keep junk in the house. A 90 calorie granola bar isn't going to do a whole lot of damage, but if that pattern were more frequent, over time I'm sure that it would.

Secret eating is also a problem. It's a behavior that needs to change. Eating in front of others shouldn't make me anxious. If I am eating something that's unhealthy (like pizza and cake at a birthday party last weekend), I cannot stand the thought of people seeing me eat it. I feel a bit hypocritical, like I shouldn't be eating that because I don't typically eat it anymore. It's like I fee like people can see me eating unhealthy and they know I don't typically do that. Part of me feels guilty...How can I write about health if I'm not always healthy? The problem with that thinking is that it's placing stress on me to be a perfectionist. I will fight and fight with myself (and sometimes the insistence of others) to not eat bad things. Sometimes I give in and sometimes I don't.  I do know that, every now and then, it is okay to have something unhealthy. I have it in my mind though that I should be healthy at all times. Now I sometimes eat in secret because I'm afraid someone will see me eat something I feel I shouldn't. I'm afraid of being judged. I have put pressure on myself to be as good as possible as much of the time as possible. 

I need to keep in mind, with food, "progress not perfection."  I can manage just fine with exercise but apparently not so much when it comes to eating.

Binge eating is not something to be taken lightly. It's a real concern, and is often linked to other issues. If I were to be diagnosed right now, I'd be given the diagnosis of "Eating Disorder NOS." NOS means not otherwise specified. Basically it would show that there's a problem with my eating; my eating habits and patterns are disordered, meaning they're not "normal" behaviors.  Binge eating is a serious condition that you should take time to learn about, especially if you notice things that might not be considered normal in your eating habits. You should always discuss concerns with your physician or a mental health professional.

Having an awareness of these things is so important. These behaviors are typically noticed in adolescence or early adulthood.  The damage can be started as early as childhood. If you notice a child eating large quantities of food, trying to hide it, and feeling badly about it after, you should not hesitate to ask for help. The effects of these behaviors in childhood can lead to complications in health later on.

I found this link on binge eating in kids and I really liked it and thought it was important to share.

Kids and Binge Eating

I'm going to take some time tonight to really look at my behaviors and patterns. I'm going to look at ways I can modify these behaviors. Not keeping things around the house is good, but it's not changing how I feel or how I think.  I definitely need to spend a little time working on my own self-improvement.  We're constantly changing, learning, growing... It's important to be aware of how you are changing and do what you can to make those changes positive. Health and happiness go hand-in-hand.


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